Pentagon & Congress

Congressman objects to Bible removal at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

DAYTON, Ohio — An Ohio congressman said it's unacceptable that a Bible was removed from a POW display at a military base medical center.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner sent a letter Wednesday to the top general at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base objecting to the Bible's removal from a POW/MIA table display in the hospital's dining facility, The Dayton Daily News reported.

The Bible was removed last week after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained, base spokeswoman Marie Vanover said in an email.

The foundation received more than 30 complaints, 10 of which came from people identifying as Christians, according to Mikey Weinstein, the organization's founder and president.

Turner's letter to Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said he's concerned that "similar efforts to restrict religious freedom" may be made at other military sites.

"It's a very dangerous precedent to have a group that has an issue campaign to effect policy on a government installation merely by complaining," the congressman said.

Weinstein said the foundation had constitutional concerns about the Bible's display.

He called Turner's letter "ridiculous" and "absurd."

"He's grandstanding in an election year, throwing red meat to the conservative electorate that's out there," Weinstein said.

Air Force Materiel Command spokesman Ron Fry said the command and the Air Force said military leaders have to balance constitutionally protected religious freedom with the constitutional separation of church and state.

The foundation has opposed the placement of Bibles in POW/MIA Missing Man displays at VA facilities in Akron and Youngstown. Those Bibles have also been removed.

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